Seated at a table too tiny for adult legs, Kristi and Dustin Frazier played a board game with their two young children.
Daughter Addison, 4, flicked a finger at a game board spinner, and when it stopped at a number she asked, "Will I win?"
"It doesn't matter," her mother Kristi said. "We're all winners."
Whether it's a game with the kids, or life itself, that fighting spirit has helped Kristi and Dustin Frazier over major hurdles, 10TV's Andrea Cambern reported.
Eight months after their wedding, during Dustin's last week of law school in northern Ohio, Kristi was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I was shocked," Kristi said. “I had just turned 28 years old, and it wasn't in my family."
Two weeks later, she learned that she was pregnant, Cambern reported.
"We were scared. We could not believe that now I was pregnant. First I have cancer, and now I'm pregnant. We didn't know what that was going to mean for us,” Kristi said.
Kristi said that she had found the lump in her breast the year earlier, but her doctor thought it was nothing to worry about.
A year later, the lump had grown, and her family doctor sent Kristi to a specialist.
Doctors recommended that she end her pregnancy so they could treat her breast cancer. The couple did not want to do that.
Kristi got in touch with Charles Shapiro at The Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital.
Shapiro reassured Kristi that he could treat her cancer during her pregnancy without harming the baby.
"Giving up was not an option for us. And so I think we just banded together and decided to fight," Dustin said.
So he stayed by Kristi's side each time she went for treatment and helped out at home. The cancer went into remission.
Daughter Addison was born healthy. Two year later, son Chase arrived. Then last April, the cancer returned. Once again, Dustin stepped up. This time he not only had to care for a sick wife, but two preschoolers as well.
"Dustin comes home from work and he puts on his ‘daddy hat,’" Kristi said. "He takes care of the kids. He takes care of me. He works around the clock at his regular job, then at home."
Dustin said that was the only way to beat cancer.
"That is really the only way you can beat cancer, by just living your life and not letting it run your life," Dustin said.
Dustin’s attitude, coupled with the help he provided his wife, is why Kristi said she nominated her husband for a Stefanie's Champions Award.
The annual awards at The James Cancer Hospital recognize the unselfish contributions of caregivers who help cancer patients, Cambern reported.
The awards are named in honor of the late Stefanie Spielman. Her husband, Chris, put his professional football career on hold to stay by her side as she battled the disease. The Spielman family also established a fund to fight cancer.
Dustin Frazier is one of five outstanding caregivers who will be honored at the annual awards luncheon at The Ohio State University Wednesday.
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